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Eligibility criteria for NHS funded patient transport

Patients travelling to NHS non-emergency healthcare are normally expected to use their own transport. They can also use a range of public, community, or voluntary transport. Some people may be eligible for NHS-funded patient transport on health grounds if they meet the criteria for support or assistance on or after the journey.

Whose job is it to assess patient transport?

For their first appointment, patients will be assessed by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust’s centralised booking service. The service is clinically supervised and works within agreed rules and guidelines. For follow-up appointments, assessments will be undertaken by clinical teams, who request transport on behalf of the patient.

Call the booking service on 01872 252211.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
  • weekends and bank holidays, 9.30am to 5pm

What criteria needs to be met?

Eligibility will be assessed against the following:

  1. Requires the skills or support of patient transport staff, on or after the journey, to the extent that it would be detrimental to their condition or recovery if they were to travel by any other means.
  2. Impacts on their mobility, to such an extent that they would be unable to access healthcare, and it would be detrimental to the patient’s condition or recovery to travel by any other means.

Frequent travellers

NHS Kernow has identified that people who travel a lot for a specific medical condition may need access to the NHS-funded transport service.

This is defined as anyone who is required to attend hospital for at least:

  • 3 times a week for a sustained course of treatment lasting a minimum of 6 weeks
  • 6 times a month for a sustained course of treatment lasting a minimum of 3 months

My patient is eligible, what should I do?

If it is their first appointment, they need to call 01872 252211. For follow-ups, they need to contact the outpatient department, who will arrange transport for them.

For patients who are not eligible, the transport co-ordinators can provide other choices.

My patient is not eligible, but they live in an isolated area and cannot access public transport, can they get help?

There are community transport services available to support people who cannot claim for NHS-funded patient transport. Call 01872 223388 or visit the Cornwall Council website for more information. Patients will have to pay for the cost of these services.

My patient is not eligible and is experiencing financial difficulties

People who are receiving benefits or on a low income may be able to have all or some of their travel costs refunded. This is part of the healthcare travel costs scheme.

My patient is not eligible and is unhappy with the decision, who should they contact?

Anyone who is unhappy with a decision can appeal to the centralised booking service. Call 01872 252211 and the team will arrange for a senior manager to review the decision.

Where should I go if I want more information?

Call 01872 252211 or go to our patient transport page.

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